Networks, trust and norms of indigenous institutions: trader network behaviour in challenging environments

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This paper suggests that the key to entrepreneurial success lies in the ability to maintain trust-based networks and respect social norms. In elaborating this proposition, this article draws on the results of an exploratory study of 30 Nigerian traders to demonstrate how using an ‘institutional’ lens provides new insights into the influence of trust and indigenous norms on entrepreneurial behaviour. The concept of morality which presupposes an understanding of entrepreneurial behaviour is introduced to offer a supple and adaptable explanation for how actors rely on social norms to build trade networks. At the centre, trust was found to be indispensable to networks relationships and necessary for enforcing sanctions. The results facilitate a rich understanding of how a range of trust-based networks relationships and hybrid indigenous norms underpin entrepreneurial behaviour in Nigeria. The study contributes by providing well founded insights into entrepreneurship within an African context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication37th EGOS Colloquium
Subtitle of host publicationOrganising for an Inclusive Society: Meanings, Motivations, and Mechanisms
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021
Event37th EGOS Colloquium - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 8 Jul 202110 Jul 2021


Conference37th EGOS Colloquium
Internet address


  • norms
  • networks
  • trust
  • institutions
  • Nigeria
  • Africa


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